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Name: People v. Hudson
Case #: F074016
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 10/05/2018

Sentencing court's reliance on the preliminary hearing transcript in finding defendant's prior conviction qualified as a serious felony was impermissible and violated defendant's Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial. In 2016, after a jury found Hudson guilty of mayhem, the court held a separate trial to determine whether his 1991 conviction for assault under Penal Code section 245, subdivision (a)(1), was a serious felony within the meaning of section 667, subdivisions (a) and (d). To prove that Hudson's conviction was based on a theory involving use of a deadly weapon rather than by means likely to produce great bodily…

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Name: People v. Dawkins
Case #: A150774
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 06/18/2018

When a crime is committed on a train traveling through several counties, venue is proper in any court having territorial jurisdiction. Dawkins was convicted of indecent exposure and other offenses based on two incidents during which he harassed passengers on BART trains. On appeal he argued that venue for the indecent exposure offense was not proper in San Mateo County because he committed the offense entirely within the territorial jurisdiction of Contra Costa County. Held: Affirmed. Generally, the proper venue for the prosecution of a criminal offense is in the superior court of the county where the crime was committed…

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Name: People v. Arevalo
Case #: G054483
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 01/17/2018

Probation condition requiring defendant convicted of possessing methamphetamine for sale to maintain a residence approved by the probation officer was constitutionally valid. The defendant was convicted of possession of methamphetamine for sale and granted probation. One of the conditions of probation required her to maintain a residence approved by her probation officer. On appeal, she argued the condition was unconstitutionally overbroad and violated her rights to travel and freedom of association. Held: Affirmed. Trial courts are given broad discretion in fashioning terms of probation in order to foster the reformation and rehabilitation of the…

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Name: People v. Young
Case #: C077483
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 11/17/2017

Trial court abused its discretion by removing juror who was 15 minutes late without making a reasonable inquiry to determine whether the juror was able to perform the duties of a juror. Young was charged with sexual abuse of his two daughters and a neighbor. On the day the prosecution was set to begin the presentation of its case, Young's attorney, Barton, was sick and stand-in counsel appeared instead to request a continuance. After discussing scheduling outside the presence of the jury, the trial court explained the jury would be brought in and informed that there would be no…

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Name: McWilliams v. Dunn
Case #: 16-5294
Court: US Supreme Court
District USSup
Opinion Date: 06/19/2017
Subsequent History: 137 S.Ct. 1790

State court unreasonably applied clearly established U.S. Supreme Court precedent in finding that an examination by a competent psychiatrist without more satisfies the expert requirements under Ake v. Oklahoma (1985) 470 U.S. 68. McWilliams was convicted of capital murder in Alabama. The trial court granted defense counsel's request for neurological testing, and a psychiatrist examined McWilliams. Because the defense received the psychiatrist's report and additional mental health records right before sentencing, counsel asked for a continuance, telling the court he needed an expert to review the documents. The court ultimately denied the continuance and sentenced McWilliams to death, citing evidence…

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Name: Pena-Rodriguez v. Colorado
Case #: 15-606
Court: US Supreme Court
District USSup
Opinion Date: 02/09/2017

The Sixth Amendment requires an exception to the "no-impeachment" rule for jury deliberations where a juror's statements indicate that racial animus was a significant motivating factor in his or her finding of guilt. After a Colorado jury returned guilty verdicts against Pena-Rodriguez, two jurors approached his trial attorney to report that a third juror had made statements during deliberations reflecting that his guilty vote was the product of racial animus. The trial court denied Pena-Rodriguez's motion for a new trial, citing the state's no-impeachment rule, which generally prohibits a juror from testifying as to statements made during deliberations in a…

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Name: People ex rel. Pierson v. Superior Court
Case #: C081603
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 01/10/2017

The amendments to Penal Code section 917 that prohibit a grand jury from inquiring into an offense where an officer used lethal force are unconstitutional because the Legislature cannot limit the grand jury's constitutional power to indict. In 2015 an officer shot and killed a suspect. The El Dorado County District Attorney convened a grand jury but the superior court dismissed the grand jury pursuant to section 917, which was amended in 2015 to prohibit grand jury indictments in such cases. The district attorney filed a writ of mandate challenging the constitutionality of the statute. Held: Peremptory writ issued. Article…

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Name: United States v. Yepiz
Case #: 07-50051
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 12/20/2016

Prosecution may have violated Brady by failing to disclose extent of witness's relationship with law enforcement. Yepiz and eight other codefendants were convicted of a number of offenses, including violations of the RICO Act. They appealed on various grounds including Brady v. Maryland (1963) 373 U.S. 83, 87. During trial, the prosecution had represented to the defense that none of its witnesses received benefits in exchange for their testimony. On cross-examination, however, one witness, Bulgarian, testified that he had been paid $5,000. While the appeal was pending, the defense discovered that Bulgarian testified in a different case that law enforcement…

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Name: People v. Flores
Case #: D069899
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 08/23/2016

Torture conviction predicated on natural and probable consequences doctrine is not improper under People v. Chiu (2014) 59 Cal.4th 155. Flores had three children, which he and his girlfriend, Shugg, nearly starved to death. Flores was charged with torture and other offenses and enhancements. The jury was instructed that Flores could be found guilty of torture based on a natural probable consequences theory: that he aided and abetted Shugg in committing felony child abuse, and torture was a natural and probable consequence of that child abuse. He appealed, arguing that his torture conviction could not be predicated on the natural…

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Name: People v. Lameed
Case #: H042399
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 05/11/2016

When a trial court orders involuntary administration of antipsychotics to protect the defendant's health and not for the purpose of rendering him competent to stand trial, neither Sell v. United States (2003) 539 U.S. 166 nor Penal Code section 1370, subdivision (a)(2)(B)(i)(III) apply. Lameed appealed after the trial court declared him incompetent, committed him to the state hospital, and authorized the involuntary administration of antispychotics to protect his health. He argued that the order authorizing the involuntary administration was invalid because it failed to comply with Sell v. United States (2003) 539 U.S. 166 or section 1370, subdivision (a)(2)(B)(i)(III). Held:…

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